Every child in Santa Clara County has opportunities although they and their families might not recognize or believe this. Let’s ensure every child and family know opportunities exist, are available for them too, and help them take advantage of these opportunities. I commit to equal opportunity for our youth.
Taking into consideration the profound impact of COVID-19 and the expanded movement for racial justice and equity, what do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how do you propose to address them?
Our school districts have been implementing and managing learning in the current pandemic environment in order to educate our students, and City Council can support districts’ efforts. Three top issues are:
1. Access to technology to enable effective distance learning
2. Access to support including tutoring, college-prep and mental health services
3. Providing a supportive, bias-free environment for every student and identifying and implementing solutions to make sure no students face discrimination
Subsidizing internet would help families who need access to distance learning and supportive services. Something City Council can do directly is address issues with Student Resource Officers serving in the schools. The approach to SROs that Los Altos takes vs. Mountain View is different and SROs seem to work better in Mountain View schools even within the same school district. This needs to be fixed.
How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?
Los Altos has poor cellular service and internet options are not optimal either. Once two outstanding lawsuits against Los Altos are concluded (AT&T and Verizon vs. Los Altos over 5G) then we need to focus on reasonable coverage, including making sure households with students have access to decent internet. Subsidies and grants can be budgeted.
Also, the Student Resource Officer position and how to equitably keep our campuses safe is in the City and Police Department’s jurisdiction. Budget needs to be allocated for re-defining this role and providing anti-bias training, if the position is retained.
What steps will you take to address the high cost and lack of availability of quality child care and preschool programs in our communities, especially for low-income children and English language learners?
City Council can help with the availability side of the equation, because use permits for child-care and preschools to operate in buildings such as churches often come to Council. Facilitating approval of these use permits benefits everyone although there can be issues of traffic if the use is a new one in that location. A flexible approach to drop off and pick up times can be implemented to mitigate traffic issues.
What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?
It is important to have inclusive options for children with special needs to help them participate in and contribute to the community and make sure they have equal opportunities. City Council can ensure that all parks and other city facilities accommodate everyone including those with special needs or disabilities. It is also Council’s role to ensure that our community is a safe and healthy environment including for those with special needs.
Much of the student achievement gap has been linked to the "opportunity gap" that low-income children and children of color experience, including lack of access to healthy food, preschool, tutors and enrichment activities. If elected, what steps will you take to address this issue?
I have been deeply involved for the past decade with Mentor Tutor Connection, including serving on the Board and as President, so I am familiar with the “opportunity gap”. MTC provides tutors to LASD and MVWSD, and mentors to MVLA high schools; I am currently mentoring a student at LAHS. If elected, my commitment is to bring awareness and priority to issues our under-represented students face, including supporting our school districts to make sure all our students can access distance learning, support services and opportunities. Many in our community don’t realize our students are not all “rich kids”. Let’s bridge the divide and make sure opportunities are available for all our kids.